Thu. May 30th, 2024
alert-–-what-happens-next-to-bruce-lehrmann?-will-he-be-charged?-criminal-lawyer-answers-questions-after-judge-found-he-raped-brittany-higginsAlert – What happens next to Bruce Lehrmann? Will he be charged? Criminal lawyer answers questions after judge found he raped Brittany Higgins

EXCLUSIVE 

Bruce Lehrmann is highly unlikely to be prosecuted again for the rape of Brittany Higgins but a second criminal case is not technically impossible.

One of the country’s most experienced criminal lawyers told Daily Mail he could not see the Federal Court finding that Lehrmann had raped Ms Higgins leading to further charges. 

Lehrmann’s defamation action against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson was decided by Justice Michael Lee on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard of proving allegations beyond reasonable doubt. 

Former NSW Senior Crown Prosecutor Ian LLoyd KC, who now practises as a defence barrister, believed Lehrmann would not be re-tried for raping Ms Higgins. 

‘I can’t imagine any prosecuting authority attempting to re-try him,’ Mr Lloyd said. ‘I just can’t see it.’ 

Bruce Lehrmann (above) was highly unlikely to be prosecuted again for the rape of Brittany Higgins but a second criminal case would be technically possible

Bruce Lehrmann (above) was highly unlikely to be prosecuted again for the rape of Brittany Higgins but a second criminal case would be technically possible

Lehrmann faced trial in October 2022 for having sexual intercourse with Ms Higgins without her consent at Parliament House in March 2019, having always denied raping his onetime fellow political staffer.

That trial in the ACT Supreme Court was aborted due to juror misconduct and the territory’s then Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold SC, subsequently determined the case would be dropped.

Mr Drumgold said there was ‘compelling evidence’ from medical experts that putting the case before another jury would be ‘a significant and unacceptable risk’ to Ms Higgins’s life. 

Mr Lloyd said that would almost certainly be the end of the matter for Lehrmann. 

‘The bottom line is that a jury was discharged and did not return a verdict of guilty or not guilty,’ Mr Lloyd said.

‘In theory, you could not say it would be impossible for another prosecution to be launched.

‘Having said that, people have gone on the record and said there will not be another prosecution.’

One of 's most experienced criminal barristers said he could not see the Federal Court finding that Lehrmann had raped Ms Higgins (above with fiance David Sharaz) leading to further charges

One of ‘s most experienced criminal barristers said he could not see the Federal Court finding that Lehrmann had raped Ms Higgins (above with fiance David Sharaz) leading to further charges

After the trial was aborted Ms Higgins gave a speech outside court which many observers took to mean she was publicly asserting Lehrmann was guilty. 

‘I chose to speak up – to speak up against rape, to speak up against injustice, speak up and share my experiences with others,’ she had said.

‘I told the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unflattering that truth was.

‘This outcome does not change that truth.’

Lehrmann’s lawyers referred those comments to the n Federal Police and the ACT Supreme Court.

Mr Lloyd said the history of the case meant if any further criminal action was taken against Lehrmann it would likely be thrown out of court. 

‘The fact that the complainant Brittany Higgins came out and said what she said after the jury was discharged would almost certainly guarantee that he could not get a fair trial,’ Mr Lloyd said.

‘In my experience, in all the circumstances of the case, if the prosecuting authority did attempt to re-try him it would be almost certain that a trial judge would grant a permanent say of proceedings, given what has gone previously.’

Lehrmann is accused of raping another woman in Toowoomba, west of Brisbane, in October 2021 and has indicated he will plead not guilty. 

The 28-year-old was charged with two counts of rape in January last year and is set to face a committal hearing on June 17 in Toowoomba Magistrates Court. 

READ MORE: Ashen-faced Bruce Lehrmann emerges from court after judge finds he raped Brittany Higgins and Lisa Wilkinson and Channel Ten win the case: ‘He’s ruined’

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